Putting the lie to the "essentialization of faith," a quintessential Modernist proposition that has been propagated by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI throughout his priestly career (see James Larson, Article 5: The Point of Departure) despite its having been condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Domini Gregis, September 8, 1907, Pope Pius XI, writing in Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928, explained that one cannot claim to be a true follower of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ unless He accepts with firmness everything that is taught by His spotless bride, our Holy Mother Church, without one iota of dissent:
For this reason it is that all who are truly Christ's believe, for example, the Conception of the Mother of God without stain of original sin with the same faith as they believe the mystery of the August Trinity, and the Incarnation of our Lord just as they do the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, according to the sense in which it was defined by the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. Are these truths not equally certain, or not equally to be believed, because the Church has solemnly sanctioned and defined them, some in one age and some in another, even in those times immediately before our own? Has not God revealed them all? For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. But in the use of this extraordinary teaching authority no newly invented matter is brought in, nor is anything new added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of Revelation, divinely handed down to the Church: only those which are made clear which perhaps may still seem obscure to some, or that which some have previously called into question is declared to be of faith. (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928,)
Joseph Alois Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has never accepted this. He believes that Protestants truly "love" Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ because they are said to have a "relationship" with Him even though they do not know Him or accept Him as He has revealed Himself to men exclusively through His Catholic Church. Ratzinger/Benedict believes that the Orthodox are fellow "believers" even though they reject the Catholic Church's doctrinal definitions of Original Sin, Papal Primacy, Papal Infallibility and Purgatory and reject as well the dogma of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception as defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854. As Pope Pius XI noted in Mortalium Animos and as Pope Leo XIII noted in Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896, this is not so. No one is a true follower of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who dissents in any way, shape or form from anything contained in the Deposit of Faith, including the doctrine of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception as defined infallibly by Pope Pius IX in the Bull Ineffabilis Deus on December 8, 1854.
Here is a pertinent passage from Ineffabilis Deus:
Besides, we must note a fact of the greatest importance indeed. Even the Council of Trent itself, when it promulgated the dogmatic decree concerning original sin, following the testimonies of the Sacred Scriptures, of the Holy Fathers and of the renowned Council, decreed and defined that all men are born infected by original sin; nevertheless, it solemnly declared that it had no intention of including the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, in this decree and in the general extension of its definition. Indeed, considering the times and circumstances, the Fathers of Trent sufficiently intimated by this declaration that the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from the original stain; and thus they clearly signified that nothing could be reasonably cited from the Sacred Scriptures, from Tradition, or from the authority of the Fathers, which would in any way be opposed to so great a prerogative of the Blessed Virgin.
Testimonies of Tradition
And indeed, illustrious documents of venerable antiquity, of both the Eastern and the Western Church, very forcibly testify that this doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the most Blessed Virgin, which was daily more and more splendidly explained, stated and confirmed by the highest authority, teaching, zeal, knowledge, and wisdom of the Church, and which was disseminated among all peoples and nations of the Catholic world in a marvelous manner — this doctrine always existed in the Church as a doctrine that has been received from our ancestors, and that has been stamped with the character of revealed doctrine. For the Church of Christ, watchful guardian that she is, and defender of the dogmas deposited with her, never changes anything, never diminishes anything, never adds anything to them; but with all diligence she treats the ancient documents faithfully and wisely; if they really are of ancient origin and if the faith of the Fathers has transmitted them, she strives to investigate and explain them in such a way that the ancient dogmas of heavenly doctrine will be made evident and clear, but will retain their full, integral, and proper nature, and will grown only within their own genus — that is, within the same dogma, in the same sense and the same meaning. (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854.)
One will note that the language used by Pope Pius IX in the section above in italics is almost identical to the language that was used by the Fathers of the [First] Vatican Council over which he, Pope Pius IX, presided to explain the true nature of dogmatic teaching, which is quite in contrast with the belief in a "living tradition" or a "hermeneutic of continuity" possessed and propagated by the conciliar revolutionaries:
For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward
- not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence,
- but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.
Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.
May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding. (Vatican Council, Sesion 3, April 24, 1870.)
None of the conciliar "popes" have professed this to be so.
Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII, Giovanni Enrico Antonio Maria/Paul VI, Karol Josef Wojtyla/John Paul II and Joseph Alois Ratzinger/Benedict XVI worked assiduously to propagate the conception of evolution of dogma that was condemned by the [First] Vatican Council solemnly and by Popes Saint Pius X (Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1908, The Syllabus of Errors, September 1, 1910) and Pius XII (Humani Generis, August 12, 1950). Jorge Mario Bergoglio/Francis, who has shown himself to be a complete and entirely unreconstructed naturalist, simply believes that the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, blows kind of "randomly," meaning that what "really" matters are the subjective intentions of "human hearts," not the "coldness" of "rigid" "rules" that put God the Holy Ghost in a "cage" in an effort to "tame" Him.
For his part, Antipope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who personally esteemed the symbols of false religions with his own priestly hands, turned in the direction of Mecca at the Blue Mosque on November 30, 2006, the Feast of Saint Andrew, while assuming the Mohammedan prayer position, entered into Talmudic synagogues without exhorting those assembled to convert to the Catholic Faith, attempted to give "joint blessings" with Protestant "ministers" and propagated heresy after heresy, has so little regard for the nature of truth of any kind that he is thoroughly capable of deconstructing his own choice in 2013 to be called "emeritus pope," saying now that he wanted to be known as "Padre Benedetto" (Father Benedict) but was too tired at the time to push for that choice. His own personal "hemeneutic of continuity" is staggering to behold as this is what his spokesflack, "Father" Federico Lombardi, S.J., said at the time:
Pope Benedict XVI will be known as "emeritus pope" in his retirement and will continue to wear a white cassock, the Vatican announced Tuesday, again fueling concerns about potential conflicts arising from having both a reigning and a retired pope.
The pope's title and what he would wear have been a major source of speculation ever since Benedict stunned the world and announced he would resign on Thursday, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Benedict himself had made the decision in consultation with others, settling on "Your Holiness Benedict XVI" and either emeritus pope or emeritus Roman pontiff.
Lombardi said he didn't know why Benedict had decided to drop his other main title: bishop of Rome.
In the two weeks since Benedict's resignation announcement, Vatican officials had suggested that Benedict would likely resume wearing the traditional black garb of a cleric and would use the title "emeritus bishop of Rome" so as to not create confusion with the future pope.
Benedict's decision to call himself emeritus pope and to keep wearing white is sure to fan concern voiced privately by some cardinals about the awkward reality of having two popes, both living within the Vatican walls.
Adding to the concern is that Benedict's trusted secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, will be serving both pontiffs -- living with Benedict at the monastery inside the Vatican and keeping his day job as prefect of the new pope's household.
Asked about the potential conflicts, Lombardi was defensive, saying the decisions had been clearly reasoned and were likely chosen for the sake of simplicity.
"I believe it was well thought out," he said.
Benedict himself has made clear he is retiring to a lifetime of prayer and meditation "hidden from the world." However, he still will be very present in the tiny Vatican city-state, where his new home is right next door to the Vatican Radio and has a lovely view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica.
While he will no longer wear his trademark red shoes, Benedict has taken a liking to a pair of hand-crafted brown loafers made for him by artisans in Leon, Mexico, and given to him during his 2012 visit. He will wear those in retirement, Lombardi said. (Vatican says retired Pope Benedict XVI will be called 'emeritus pope'.)
Padre Benedetto has not remained "hidden from the world" as he publishes revised articles, gives interviews, receives visitors and is in regular contact with his success as the universal public face of apostasy, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Nothing is ever stable, nothing is ever secure in the minds of men maddened by the insanity of Modernity's evolution of doctrine, which is how the conciliar revolutionaries, especially Razinger/Benedict, have deconstructed, misrepresented and distorted the Catholic Church's teaching on the doctrine of Original Sin.
The doctrine of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception is, of course, very much tied to the Catholic Church's precise doctrinal teaching on Original Sin. And while past articles on this site have reviewed the now retired Ratzinger/Benedict's heretical view of Original Sin (a view that is quite similar to that of the heretical and schismatic Orthodox), it is important for present purposes to note that to reject the Church's precise dogmatic teaching on Original Sin to attack the entirety of the Faith, including to misrepresent and deconstruct the dogma of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception:
Dom Prosper Gueranger explained this exact point in The Liturgical Year:
The intention of the Church, in this feast, is not only to celebrate the anniversary of the happy moment in which began, in the womb of the pious Anne, the life of the ever-glorious Virgin Mary; but also to honour the sublime privilege, by which Mary was preserved from the original stain, which, by a sovereign and universal decree, is contacted by all the children of Adam, the very moment they are conceived in their mother's womb. The faith of the Catholic Church on the subject of the Conception of Mary is this: that at the very instant when God united the sol of Mary, which He had created, to the body which it was to animate, this ever-blessed soul did not only contract the stain, which at that same instant, defiles every human soul, but was filled with an immeasurable grace which rendered her, from that moment, the mirror of the sanctity of God Himself, as far as this is possible to a creature. The Church with her infallible authority, declared, by the lips of Pius IX., that this article of her faith had been revealed by God Himself. The Definition was received with enthusiasm by the whole of Christendom, and the eighth of December of the year 1854 was thus made one of the most memorable days of the Church's history.
It was due to His own infinite sanctity that God should suspend, in this instance, the law which His divine justice had passed upon all the children of Adam. The relations which Mary was to bear to the Divinity, could not be reconciled with her undergoing the humiliation of this punishment. She was not only daughter of the eternal Father; she was destined also to become the very Mother of the Son, and the veritable bride of the Holy Ghost. Nothing defiled could be permitted to enter, even for an instant of time, into the creature that was thus predestined to contract such close relations with the adorable Trinity; not a speck could be permitted to tarnish in Mary that perfect purity which the infinitely holy God requires even in those who are one day to be admitted to enjoy the sight of His divine majesty in heaven; in a world, as the great Doctor St. Anselm says, 'it was just that this holy Virgin should be adorned with the greatest purity which can be conceived after that of God Himself, since God the Father was to give to her, as her Child, that only-begotten Son, whom He loved as Himself, as being begotten to Him from His own bosom; and this in such a manner, that the selfsame Son of God was, by nature, the Son of both God the Father and this blessed Virgin. This same Son chose her to be substantially His Mother;and the Holy Ghost willed that in her womb He would operate the conception and birth of Him from whom He Himself proceeded.
Moreover, the close ties which were to unite the Son of God with Mary, and which would elicit form Him the tenderest love and the most filial reverence for her, had been present to the divine thought from all eternity; and the conclusion forces itself upon us that therefore the divine Word had for this His future Mother a love infinitely dear to Him, because she was to be His Mother, chosen to be so by His eternal and merciful decrees. The Son's love protected the Mother. She, indeed, in her sublime humility, willingly submitted to whatever the rest of God's creatures had brought on themselves, and obeyed every tittle of those laws where were never meant for her: but that humiliating barrier, which confronts every child of Adam at the first moment of his existence, and keeps him from light and grace until he shall have been regenerated by a new birth--oh! this could not be permitted to stand in Mary's way, her Son forbade it.
The eternal Father would not do less for the second Eve than He had done for the first, who as created, as was also the first Adam, in the state of original justice, which she afterwards forfeited by sin. The Son of God would not permit that the woman from whom He was to take the nature of Man, should be deprived of that gift which He had given to her who was the mother of sin. The Holy Ghost, who was to overshadow Mary and produces Jesus within her by His divine operation, would not permit that foul stain, in which we are all conceived, to rest, even for an instant, on this His Bride. All men were to contract the sin of Adam; the sentence was universal; but God's own Mother is not included. God who is the author of that law, God who was free to make it as He willed, had power to exclude from it her whom He had predestined to be His own in so many ways; He could exempt her, and it was just that He should exempt her; therefore, He did it.
Was it not this grand exemption which God Himself foretold, when the guilty pair, whose children we all are, appeared before Him in the garden of Eden! In the anathema which fell upon the serpent, there was included a promise of mercy to us. 'I will put enmities,' said the Lord, 'between thee and the Woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head.' Thus was salvation promised the human race under the form of a victory over satan; and this victory is to be gained by the Woman, and she will gain it for us also. Even granting, as some read this text, that it is the Son of the Woman that is alone to gain this victory, the enmity between the Woman and the serpent is clearly expressed, and she, the Woman, with her own foot, is to crush the head of the hated serpent. The second Eve is to be worthy of the second Adam, conquering and not to be conquered. The human race is one day to be avenged not only by God made Man, but also by the Woman miraculously exempted from every stain of sin, in whom the primeval creation, which was in justice and holiness, will thus reappear, just as though the original sin had never been committed.
Raise up your heads, then, ye children of Adam, and shake off your chains! This day of humiliation which weighed you down is annihilated. Behold! Mary, who is of the same flesh and blood as yourselves, has seen the torrent of sin, which swept along all the generations of mankind, flow back at her presence and not touch her: the infernal dragon has turned away his head, not daring to breathe his venom upon her; the dignity of your origin is given to her in all its primitive grandeur. This happy day, then, on which the original purity of your race is renewed, must be a feast to you. The second Eve is created; and from her own blood (which, with the exception of the element of sin, is the same as that which makes you to be the children of Adam), she is shortly to give you the God-Man, who proceeds from her according to the flesh, as He proceeds from the Father according to the eternal generation. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year.)
Each of us save Our Lady has been conceived with the stain of Original Sin on our own souls. Our souls were held captive to the devil by means of Original Sin until the moment that we were Baptized.
What "Padre Benedetto" think of the hereditary nature of Original Sin? He has told us what he thinks:
“In the story that we are considering [Ch. 3 of Genesis], still a further characteristic of sin is described. Sin is not spoken of in general as an abstract possibility but as a deed, as the sin of a particular person, Adam, who stands at the origin of humankind and with whom the history of sin begins. The account tells us that sin begets sin, and that therefore all the sins of history are interlinked. Theology refers to this state of affairs by the certainly misleading and imprecise term ‘original sin’. What does this mean? Nothing seems to us today to be stranger or, indeed, more absurd than to insist upon original sin, since, according to our way of thinking, guilt can only be something very personal, and since God does not run a concentration camp, in which one’s relatives are imprisoned because he is a liberating God of love, who calls each one by name. What does original sin mean, then, when we interpret it correctly?
"Finding an answer to this requires nothing less than trying to understand the human person better. It must once again be stressed that no human being is closed in upon himself or herself and that no one can live of or for himself or herself alone. We receive our life not only at the moment of birth but every day from without – from others who are not ourselves but who nonetheless somehow pertain to us. Human beings have their selves not only in themselves but also outside of themselves: they live in those whom they love and in those who love them and to whom they are ‘present.’ Human beings are relational, and they possess their lives – themselves – only by way of relationship. I alone am not myself, but only in and with you am I myself. To be truly a human being means to be related in love, to be of and for. But sin means the damaging or the destruction of relationality. Sin is a rejection of relationality because it wants to make the human being a god. Sin is loss of relationship, disturbance of relationship, and therefore it is not restricted to the individual. When I destroy a relationship, then this event – sin – touches the other person involved in the relationship. Consequently sin is always an offense that touches others, that alters the world and damages it. To the extent that this is true, when the network of human relationships is damaged from the very beginning, then every human being enters into a world that is marked by relational damage. At the very moment that a person begins human existence, which is a good, he or she is confronted by a sin- damaged world. Each of us enters into a situation in which relationality has been hurt. Consequently each person is, from the very start, damaged in relationships and does not engage in them as he or she ought. Sin pursues the human being, and he or she capitulates to it.” (Joseph Ratzinger, Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, pp. 71-73, quoted in James Larson's The Point of Departure. For a different translation of the same text, replete with a superb commentary from authors who understand that Joseph Ratzinger expelled himself from the bosom of Holy Mother Church long, long before his supposed "election" to a Chair that has been empty since the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958, is still empty, please see Benedict on Original Sin at Novus Ordo Watch, which was brought to my attention by a reader upon reviewing this revised and republished article. I thank the reader for providing me with this additional and quite valuable information.)
"Misleading and imprecise" term "original sin"? One who gets the doctrine of Original Sin wrong, as will be discussed more in a few days, will get the doctrine of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception wrong. Indeed, Mr. James Larson, who is opposed to sedevacantism, noted the following about the passages he quoted from Ratzinger's Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall:
First of all, I would suggest that we might search 2,000 years of history and never find another statement so clearly and profoundly heretical made by a member of the Church in as high a position as that occupied by Cardinal Ratzinger. What Cardinal Ratzinger here denies, of course, is the dogma of the faith that original sin is passed down from Adam to all men through generation. Cardinal Ratzinger considers such a view of sin misleading and imprecise and, in fact, ridicules it as stemming from a view of God which sees Him as the Commandant of a Consecration Camp Who imprisons one’s relatives just because of the fact that they share a common descent. In so doing, of course, he is directly contradicting Scripture and the clearly defined teaching of the Church. The following is from the Decree Concerning Original Sin of the Council of Trent:
“For that which the Apostle has said, ‘By one man, sin entered into this world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned.’ (Rom 5:12), is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere hath always understood it. For, by reason of this rule of faith, from a tradition of the Apostles, even infants who could not as yet commit any sin of themselves, are for this cause truly baptized for the remission of sins, that in them that may be cleansed away by regeneration which they have contracted by generation. For, ‘unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’” (John 3:5).
Adam’s original sin was, first of all, a denial of the immutable Nature and Being of God. It was a calling into question of His Supreme Being and Authority as expressed in His commandment and prohibition to man. Secondly, it was a repudiation of man’s wholly contingent and dependent nature, as expressed in Satan’s temptation to Eve, ”No, you shall not die the death.” Finally, it culminated in a profound lie concerning the true relationship of man to God: “For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil." Original sin is, in other words, a violation of the truth about nature and being at all levels.
As explored in my article Heart of Betrayal, it is this ontological reality of things which is the object of the war conducted by Modernism against the Faith. Modernism, especially as found in Phenomenalism and Personalism, seeks to make the Faith primarily a matter of an ongoing and developing relationship. Cardinal Ratzinger, in the paragraph quoted above in which he tries to give new meaning to original sin, uses some form of the word relationship 13 times. Not once, however, in all this overdone discussion of “relationality” is there a consideration of man’s relationship to God. The focus is exclusively on our relationship to our fellow man, (James Larson's The Point of Departure.)
Concentration camp? May God help us in this time of apostasy and betrayal. May His Most Blessed Mother preserve from recognizing this apostate as a member of the Catholic Church.
Although I will revisit this material again in a few days, it is pertinent on this great feast day because only one fully human being, Our Lady (her Divine Son is both God and Man, the Theandric Person), was preserved from the stain of Adam's sin. She alone among all other human beings had the the gift of perfect Integrity, meaning that there were no disorderly inclinations in her and that she only grew in grace from the first moment of Immaculate Conception at which she was already filled with grace.
One cannot, for example, endorse the blasphemous The Nativity Story, which portrayed Our Lady as a sulky, moody and rebellious teenager and which portrayed the Nativity of her Divine Son as a painful birth, and have any conception of the horror of Original Sin, which rent asunder man's relationship with God and with his fellow men as it overthrew the delicate balance between our higher, rational faculties and our lower, sensual passions, and the privileges according to the fairest flower of our race precisely because she was preserved from all stain of Original Sin. Who endorsed The Nativity Story? Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.
The Catholic Church's doctrine on Original Sin does not need to be "re-thought" or "reformulated." The term is not "misleading" and "imprecise." It is very precise. The Council of Trent defined it precisely. Everyone on the face of this earth, whether or not he realizes it, is bound by the dogmatic definition exactly as proclaimed by the Council of Trent, which did, after all, meet and make its pronouncements under the infallible guidance of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost. Catholics need to know this dogmatic definition and the effects produced in our souls as a result of the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin (and our own Actual Sins), the darkened intellect and the weakened will. In other words, Catholics need catechesis on the perennial, infallible teaching of the Church, not allocutions that seek to refashion everything about the Faith according to the murkiness of the New Theology so as to attempt, albeit futilely, to make Catholicism of one piece with the errors of Orthodoxy.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton explained the absolute importance of understanding the doctrine of Original Sin exactly as it is taught by the Catholic Church without any reformulation whatsoever as the principal means to deal with all naturalistic explanations of the problems of men and their societies:
Viewed merely in an external and experimental fashion, the whole of the high civilisation of antiquity had ended in the learning of a certain lesson; that is, in its conversion to Christianity. But that lesson was a psychological fact as well as a theological faith. That pagan civilisation had indeed been a very high civilisation. It would not weaken our thesis, it might even strengthen it, to say that it was the highest that humanity ever reached. It had discovered its still unrivalled arts of poetry and plastic representation; it had discovered its own permanent political ideals; it has discovered its own clear system of logic and of language. But above all, it had discovered its own mistaken.
That mistake was too deep to be ideally defined; the short-hand of it is to call it the mistake of nature-worship. It might almost as truly be called the mistake of being natural; and it was a very natural mistake. The Greeks, the great guides and pioneers of pagan antiquity, started out with the idea of something splendidly obvious and direct; the idea that if man walked straight ahead on the high road of reason and nature, he could come to no harm; especially if he was, as the Greek was, eminently enlightened and intelligent. We might be so flippant as to say that man was simply to follow his own nose, as long as it was a Greek nose. And the case of the Greeks themselves is alone enough to illustrate the strange but certain fatality that attends upon this fallacy. No sooner did the Greeks themselves begin to follow their own noses and their own notion of being natural, than the queerest thing in history seems to have happened to them. It was much too queer to be an easy matter to discuss. It may be remarked that our more repulsive realists never give us the benefit of their realism. Their studies of unsavoury subjects never take note of the testimony which they bear to the truths of a traditional morality. But if we had the taste for such things, we could cite thousands of such things part of the case for Christian morals. And an instance of this is found in the fact that nobody has written, in this sense, a real moral history of the Greeks. Nobody has seen the scale or the strangeness of the story. The wisest men in the world set out to be natural; and the most unnatural thing in the world was the very first thing that they did. The immediate effect of saluting the sun and the sunny sanity of nature was a perversion spreading like a pestilence. The greatest and even the purest philosophers could not apparently avoid this low sort of lunacy. Why? It would seem simple enough for the people whose poets had conceived Helen of Troy, whose sculptors had carved the Venus of Milo, to remain healthy on the point. The truth is that people who worship health cannot remain healthy. When Man goes straight he goes crooked. When he follows his nose he manages somehow to put his nose out of joint, or even to cut off his nose to spite his face; and that in accordance with something much deeper in human nature than nature-worshippers could ever understand. It was the discovery of the deeper thing, humanly speaking, that constituted the conversion to Christianity. There is a bias in man like the bias in the bowl; and Christianity was the discovery of how to correct the bias and therefore hit the mark. There are many who will smile at the saying; but it is profoundly true to say that the glad news brought by the Gospel was the news of original sin. (Gilbert Keith Chesterton, St. Francis of Assisi, Doubleday and Company, 1954, pp.36-39.)
That is, to get the doctrine of Original Sin wrong is to get everything else about the Faith and about nature itself wrong. One of the reasons that I found myself flushed down the Orwellian memory hole in the middle of a semester recently is that I began my courses, much to the consternation of anti-Catholic naturalists, with the following explanation to my students:
One cannot understand politics without understanding human nature. One cannot understand human nature without understanding the Special Creation of Adam by God and Adam's Fall from Grace by means of Original Sin. Original Sin--and our own Actual Sins that flow from Original Sin in the souls of the unbaptized or from the vestigial aftereffects of Original Sin in the souls of the baptized--is responsible for all of the problems of world: war, poverty, disease, injustice, New Jersey [this would get a big laugh from New Yorkers when I taught in colleges in the my native state]. There is no natural, secular, philosophical, ideological, religiously indifferentist, interdenominational or nondenominational way to ameliorate the problems caused by Original Sin. The problems caused by Original Sin, in other words by man's fallen human nature, can be ameliorated only by our daily cooperation with the Sanctifying Grace won for us by the shedding of the Most Precious Blood of the Divine Redeemer, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flows into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces. Catholicism is the one and only means by means human beings can know order in their own lives and in the lives of their nations. It is Catholicism, not liberalism or conservatism or libertarianism or communism or socialism or pragmatism or utilitarianism or relativism or positivism or feminism or environmentalism or any other secular " 'ism," that is the one and only means of human order in this passing, mortal vale of tears and hence the means of eternal happiness in Heaven.
One has to get the doctrine of Original Sin right to understand how view man and the problems that he creates in the world. One has to get the doctrine of Original Sin right in order to avoid becoming a slave of an ideology or a philosophy proposing to "explain" human problems and attempting to provide various paradigms or models for the "just" society absent a conversion of men and their nations to the Social Reign of Christ the King as that Reign must be exercised by the authority of the Catholic Church. One has to get the doctrine of Original Sin right to avoid falling into the trap of looking at various "trees" (i.e., particular problems or crises that "demand" our attention and that drive otherwise rational people into believing the hype written by professional fund-raisers for various Protestant and/or conciliar "advocacy" groups that we must donate to such and such an organization "immediately" lest a social Armageddon result) rather than to calmly and rationally view the world through the eyes of the true Faith and thus to understand that there is no short-cut to social order absent a conversion of men and their nations to the true Faith.
Such a conversion, as I have noted endlessly, is not a guarantor of social order as human nature remains wounded and men fall into sin even when they believe in the true Faith and have access to the Sacraments. Such a conversion is, however, the necessary precondition for social order. We just have to get the doctrine of Original Sin as taught infallibly and quite precisely by the Catholic Church correct.
We need to get the doctrine of Original Sin correct in order to understand the truly miraculous nature of this day upon which the fairest flower of our race, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, our Mystical Rose, the Tower of David, our dear Maria Bambina was conceived in the womb of her holy mother, Good Saint Anne, without stain of Original or Actual Sin. Our Lady, the New Eve, the new Mother of all the living who would untie the knot of Eve's prideful disobedience by means of her perfect Fiat to the Will of God the Father at the Annunciation as she agreed to Incarnate His Co-Equal Son by the power of the very breath of the Father and Son's mutual love for reach other, God the Holy Ghost, was preserved from all stain of Adam's sin in order to be the Immaculate tabernacle in which to conceive and to bring to birth God in the very Flesh.
Writing nearly a century before the solemn proclamation issued by Pope Pius IX, Saint Alphonsus de Liguori summarized the conclusions of numerous theologians, most of whom are canonized saints, in his discourse on the subject that is contained in The Glories of Mary:
GREAT indeed was the injury entailed on Adam and all his posterity by his accursed sin; for at the same time that he is thereby, for his own great misfortune, lost grace, he also forfeited all the other precious gifts with which he had originally been enriched, and drew down upon himself and all his descendants the hatred of God and an accumulation of evils. But from this general misfortune God was pleased to exempt that Blessed Virgin whom He had destined to be the Mother of the Second Adam-----Jesus Christ-----Who was to repair the evil done by the first. Now, let us see how becoming it was that God, and all the Three Divine Persons, should thus preserve her from it; that the Father should preserve her as His Daughter, the Son as His Mother, and the Holy Ghost as His Spouse.
First point.-----In the first place it was becoming that the Eternal Father should preserve Mary from the stain of Original Sin, because she was His Daughter, and His first-born daughter, as she herself declares: "I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first-born before all creatures." [Eccl. 24: 5] For this text is applied to Mary by sacred interpreters, the holy Fathers, and by the Church on the solemnity of her Conception. For be she the first-born inasmuch as she was predestined in the Divine decrees, together with the Son, before all creatures, according to the Scotists; or be she the first-born of grace as the predestined Mother of the Redeemer, after the prevision of sin, according to the Thomists; nevertheless all agree in calling her the first-born of God. This being the case, it was quite becoming that Mary should never have been the slave of Lucifer, but only and always possessed by her Creator; and this she in reality was, as we are assured by herself: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways." [Prov. 8: 22] Hence Denis of Alexandria rightly calls Mary 'the one and only daughter of life.' She is the one and only daughter of life, in contradistinction to others who, being born in sin, are daughters of death.
Besides this, it was quite becoming that the Eternal Father should create her in His grace, since He destined her to be the repairer of the lost world, and the mediatress of peace between men and God; and, as such, she is looked upon and spoken of by the holy Fathers, and in particular by Saint John Damascene, who thus addresses her: 'O Blessed Virgin, thou wast born that thou mightest minister to the salvation of the whole world.' For this reason Saint Bernard says, 'that Noah's ark was a type of Mary; for as, by its means, men were preserved from the deluge, so are we all saved by Mary from the shipwreck of sin: but with the difference, that in the ark few were saved, and by Mary the whole human race was rescued from death.' Therefore, in a sermon found amongst the works of Saint Athanasius, she is called 'the new Eve, and the Mother of life;' and not without reason, for the first was the Mother of death, but the most Blessed Virgin was the Mother of true life. Saint Theophanius of Nice, addressing Mary, says, 'Hail, thou who hast taken away Eve's sorrow!' Saint Basil of Seleucia calls her the peacemaker between men and God: 'Hail, thou who art appointed umpire between God and men!' and Saint Ephrem, the pacificator of the whole world: 'Hail, reconciler of the whole world!'
But now, it certainly would not be becoming to choose an enemy to treat of peace with the offended person, and still less an accomplice in the crime itself. Saint Gregory says, 'that an enemy cannot undertake to appease his judge, who is at the same time the injured party; for if he did, instead of appeasing him, he would provoke him to greater wrath.' And therefore, as Mary was to be the mediatress of peace between men and God, it was of the utmost importance that she should not herself appear as a sinner and as an enemy of God, but that she should appear in all things as a friend, and free from every stain.
Still more was it becoming that God should preserve her from Original Sin, for He destined her to crush the head of that infernal serpent, which, by seducing our first parents, entailed death upon all men; and this our Lord foretold: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head." [Gen. 3: 15] But if Mary was to be that valiant woman brought into the world to conquer Lucifer, certainly it was not becoming that he should first conquer her, and make her his slave; but it was reasonable that she should be preserved from all stain, and even momentary subjection to her opponent. The proud spirit endeavoured to infect the most pure soul of this Virgin with his venom, as he had already infected the whole human race. But praised and ever blessed be God, Who, in His infinite goodness, preendowed her for this purpose with such great grace, that, remaining always free from any guilt of sin, she was ever able to beat down and confound his pride, as Saint Augustine, or whoever may be the author of the commentary on Genesis, says: 'Since the devil is the head of Original Sin, this head it was that Mary crushed: for sin never had any entry into the soul of this Blessed Virgin, which was consequently free from all stain.' And Saint Bonaventure more expressly says, 'It was becoming that the Blessed Virgin Mary, by whom our shame was to be blotted out, and by whom the devil was to be conquered, should never, even for a moment, have been under his dominion.'
But, above all, it principally became the Eternal Father to preserve this His daughter unspotted by Adam's sin, as Saint Bernardine of Sienna remarks, because He destined her to be the Mother of His Only-begotten Son: 'Thou wast preordained in the mind of God, before all creatures, that thou mightest beget God Himself as man.' If, then, for no other end, at least for the honour of His Son, Who was God, it was reasonable that the Father should create Mary free from every stain. The angelic Saint Thomas says, that all things that are ordained for God should be holy and free from stain: 'Holiness is to be attributed to those things which are ordained for God.' [1 p. q. xxxvi. art. 1, concl.] Hence when David was planning the temple of Jerusalem, on a scale of magnificence becoming a God, he said, "For a house is prepared not for man, but for God." [1 Paralipom. (Chronicles) 29: 1] How much more reasonable, then, is it not, to suppose that the Sovereign Architect, who destined Mary to be the Mother of His Own Son, adorned her soul with all most precious gifts, that she might be a dwelling worthy of God! Denis the Carthusian says, 'that God, the artificer of all things, when constructing a worthy dwelling for His Son adorned it with all attractive graces.' And the Holy Church herself, in the following prayer, assures us that God prepared the body and soul of the Blessed Virgin, so as to be a worthy dwelling on earth for His Only-begotten Son. 'Almighty and Eternal God Who by the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin and Mother Mary, that she might become a worthy habitation for Thy Son,' . . .
We know that a man's highest honour is to be born of noble parents, "And the glory of children are their fathers." [Prov. 17: 6] Hence in the world the reputation of being possessed of only a small fortune, and little learning, is more easily tolerated than that of being of low birth; for, whilst a poor man may become rich by his industry, an ignorant man learned by study, it is very difficult for a person of humble origin to attain the rank of nobility; but, even should he attain it, his birth can always be made a subject of reproach to him. How, then, can we suppose that God, Who could cause His Son to be born of a noble mother by preserving her from sin, would on the contrary permit Him to be born of one infected by it, and thus enable Lucifer always to reproach Him with the shame of having a mother who had once been his slave and the enemy of God? No, certainly, the Eternal Father did not permit this; but He well provided for the honour of His Son by preserving His Mother always Immaculate, that she might be a Mother becoming such a Son. The Greek Church bears witness to this, saying, 'that God, by a singular providence, caused the most Blessed Virgin to be as perfectly pure from the very first moment of her existence, as it was fitting that she should be, who was to be the worthy Mother of Christ.'
It is a common axiom amongst theologians that no gift was ever bestowed on any creature with which the Blessed Virgin was not also enriched. Saint Bernard says on this subject, 'It is certainly not wrong to suppose that that which has evidently been bestowed, even on only a few, was not denied to so great a Virgin.' Saint Thomas of Villanova says, ' Nothing was ever granted to any Saint which did not shine in a much higher degree in Mary from the very first moment of her existence.' And as it is true that 'there is an infinite difference between the Mother of God and the servants of God,' according to the celebrated saying of Saint John Damascene, we must certainly suppose, according to the doctrine of Saint Thomas, that 'God conferred privileges of grace in every way greater on His Mother than on His servants.' [3 p. q. xxvii, art. 1, concl.] And now admitting this, Saint Anselm, the great defender of the Immaculate Mary, takes up the question and says, 'Was the wisdom of God unable to form a pure dwelling, and to remove every stain of human nature from it? Perhaps God could not prepare a clean habitation for His Son by preserving it from the common contagion? 'God,' continues the same Saint, 'could preserve Angels in Heaven spotless, in the midst of the devastation that surrounded them; was He, then, unable to preserve the Mother of His Son and the Queen of Angels from the common fall of men?' And I may here add, that as God could grant Eve the grace to come immaculate into the world, could He not, then, grant the same favour to Mary?
Yes, indeed! God could do it and did it; for on every account 'it was becoming' as the same Saint Anselm says, 'that that Virgin, on whom the Eternal Father intended to bestow His Only-begotten Son, should be adorned with such purity as not only to exceed that of, all men and Angels, but exceeding any purity that can be conceived after that of God.' And Saint John Damascene speaks in still clearer terms; for he says, 'that our Lord had preserved the soul, together with the body of the Blessed Virgin, in that purity which became her who was to receive a God into her womb; for, as He is holy, He only reposes in holy places.' And thus the Eternal Father could well say to His beloved daughter, 'As the lily among thorns; so is my love among the daughters.' [Cant. 2: 2] My daughter, amongst all my other daughters, thou art as a lily in the midst of thorns; for they are all stained with sin, but thou wast always Immaculate, and always my beloved.
Second point.-----In the second place it was becoming that the Son should preserve Mary from sin, as being His Mother. No man can choose his mother; but should such a thing ever be granted to anyone, who is there who, if able to choose a queen, would wish for a slave? If able to choose a noble lady, would he wish for a servant? Or if able to choose a friend of God, would he wish for His enemy? If, then, the Son of God alone could choose a Mother according to His Own heart, His liking, we must consider, as a matter of course, that He chose one becoming a God. Saint Bernard says, 'that the Creator of men becoming Man, must have selected Himself a Mother whom He knew became Him.' And as it was becoming that a most pure God should have a Mother pure from all sin, He created her spotless. Saint Bernardine of Sienna, speaking of the different degrees of sanctification, says, that 'the third is that obtained by becoming the Mother of God; and that this sanctification consists in the entire removal of Original Sin. This is what took place in the Blessed Virgin: truly God created Mary such, both as to the eminence of her nature and the perfection of grace with ,which He endowed her, as became Him Who was to be born of her. Here we may apply the words of the Apostle to the Hebrews: "For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest; holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners." [Heb. 7: 26] A learned author observes that, according to Saint Paul, it was fitting that our Blessed Redeemer should not only be separated from sin, but also from sinners; according to the explanation of Saint Thomas, who says, 'that it was necessary that He, Who came to take away sins, should be separated from sinners, as to the fault under which Adam lay.' [3. p. q. iv. art. 6, ad 2] But how could Jesus Christ be said to be separated from sinners if He had a Mother who was a sinner?
Saint Ambrose says, 'that Christ chose this vessel into which He was about to descend, not of earth, but from Heaven; and He consecrated it a temple of purity.' The Saint alludes to the text of Saint Paul: "The first man was of the earth, earthly: the second man from Heaven, heavenly." [1 Cor. 15: 47] The Saint calls the Divine Mother 'a heavenly vessel,' not because Mary was not earthly by nature, as heretics have dreamt, but because she was heavenly by grace; she was as superior to the Angels of Heaven in sanctity and purity, as it was becoming that she should be, in whose womb a King of Glory was to dwell. This agrees with that which Saint John the Baptist revealed to St. Bridget, saying, 'It was not becoming that the King of Glory should repose otherwise than in a chosen vessel, exceeding all men and Angels in purity.' And to this we may add that which the Eternal Father Himself said to the same Saint: 'Mary was a clean and an unclean vessel: clean, for she was all fair; but unclean, because she was born of sinners; though she was conceived without sin, that My Son might be born of her without sin.' And remark these last words, 'Mary was conceived without sin, that the Divine Son might be born of her without sin.' Not that Jesus Christ could have contracted sin; but that He might not be reproached with even having a Mother infected with it, who would consequently have been the slave of the devil.
The Holy Ghost says that "the glory of a man is from the honour of his father, and a father without honour is the disgrace of the son." [Eccles. 3: 13] 'Therefore it was,' says an ancient writer, 'that Jesus preserved the body of Mary from corruption after death; for it would have redounded to His dishonour, had that virginal flesh with which He had clothed Himself become the food of worms.' 'For,' he adds, 'corruption is a disgrace of human nature; and as Jesus was not subject to it, Mary was also exempted; for the flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary.' But since the corruption of her body would have been a disgrace for Jesus Christ, because He was born of her, how much greater would the disgrace have been, had He been born of a mother whose soul was once infected with the corruption of sin! For not only is it true that the flesh of Jesus is the same as that of Mary, 'but,' adds the same author, 'the flesh of our Saviour, even after His resurrection, remained the same that He had taken from His Mother.' 'The flesh of Christ is the flesh of Mary; and though it was glorified by the glory of His resurrection, yet it remains the same that was taken from Mary.' Hence the Abbot Arnold of Chartres says, 'The flesh of Mary and that of Christ are one; and therefore I consider the glory of the Son as being not so much common to, as one with that of His Mother.' And now if this is true, supposing that the Blessed Virgin was conceived in sin, though the Son could not have contracted its stain, nevertheless His having united flesh to Himself which was once infected with sin, a vessel of uncleanness and subject to Lucifer, would always have been a blot.
Mary was not only the Mother, but the worthy Mother of our Saviour. She is called so by all the holy Fathers. Saint Bernard says, 'Thou alone wast found worthy to be chosen as the one in whose virginal womb the King of kings should have His first abode.' Saint. Thomas of Villanova says, 'Before she conceived, she was already fit to be the Mother of God.' The holy Church herself attests that Mary merited to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, saying, 'the Blessed Virgin, who merited to bear in her womb Christ our Lord;' and Saint Thomas Aquinas, explaining these words, says, that 'the Blessed Virgin is said to have merited to bear the Lord of all; not that she merited His Incarnation, but that she merited, by the graces she had received, such a degree of purity and sanctity, that she could becomingly be the Mother of God;' that is to say, Mary could not merit the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, but by Divine grace she merited such a degree of perfection as to render her worthy to be the Mother of a God; according to what Saint Peter Damian also writes: 'Her singular sanctity, the effect of grace, merited that she alone should be judged worthy to receive a God.'
And now, supposing that Mary was worthy to be the Mother of God, 'what excellency and what perfection was there that did not become her?' asks Saint Thomas of Villanova. The angelic Doctor says, 'that when God chooses anyone for a particular dignity, He renders him fit for it;' whence he adds, 'that God, having chosen Mary for His Mother, He also by His grace rendered her worthy of this highest of all dignities.' 'The Blessed Virgin was Divinely chosen to be the Mother of God, and therefore we cannot doubt that God had fitted her by His grace for this dignity; and we are assured of it by the Angel: "For thou hast found grace with God; behold, thou shalt conceive," . . . [3 p. q. xxvii. art. 4, concl.] And thence the Saint argues that 'the Blessed Virgin never committed any actual sin, not even a venial one. Otherwise,' he says, 'she would not have been a Mother worthy of Jesus Christ; for the ignominy of the Mother would also have been that of the Son, for He would have had a sinner for His Mother." [Ibid.] And now if Mary, on account of a single venial sin, which does not deprive a soul of Divine grace, would not have been a Mother worthy of God, how much more unworthy would she have been, had she contracted the guilt of Original Sin, which would have made her an enemy of God and a slave of the devil? And this reflection it was that made Saint Augustine utter those memorable words, that, 'when speaking of Mary for the honour of our Lord,' whom she merited to have for her Son, he would not entertain even the question of sin in her; 'for we know,' he says, 'that through Him, Who it is evident was without sin, and Whom she merited to conceive and bring forth, she received grace to conquer all sin.'
Therefore, as Saint Peter Damian observes, we must consider it as certain 'that the Incarnate Word chose Himself a becoming Mother, and one of whom He would not have to be ashamed.' Saint Proclus also says, 'that He dwelt in a womb which He had created free from all that might be to His dishonour.' It was no shame to Jesus Christ, when He heard Himself contemptuously called by the Jews the Son of Mary, meaning that He was the Son of a poor woman: "Is not His Mother called Mary?" [Matt. 8: 55] for He came into this world to give us an example of humility and patience. But, on the other hand, it would undoubtedly have been a disgrace, could He have heard the devil say, 'Was not His Mother a sinner? Was He not born of a wicked Mother, who was once our slave?' It would even have been unbecoming had Jesus Christ been born of a woman whose body was deformed, or crippled, or possessed by devils: but how much more would it have been so, had He been born of a woman whose soul had been once deformed by sin, and in the possession of Lucifer!
Ah I indeed, God, Who is Wisdom itself, well knew how to prepare Himself a becoming dwelling, in which to reside on earth: "Wisdom hath built herself a house." [Prov. 9: 1] "The Most High hath sanctified His own tabernacle. . . . God will help it in the morning early." [Ps. 14: 5, 6] David says that our Lord sanctified this His dwelling "in the morning early;" that is to say, from the beginning of her life, to render her worthy of Himself; for it was not becoming that a holy God should choose Himself a dwelling that was not holy: "Holiness becometh Thy house." [Ps. 92: 5] And if God declares that He will never enter a malicious soul, or dwell in a body subject to sin, "for wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins," [Wisd. 1: 4] how can we ever think that the Son of God chose to dwell in the soul and body of Mary, without having previously sanctified and preserved it from every stain of sin? For, according to the doctrine of Saint Thomas, 'the Eternal Word dwelt not only in the soul of Mary, but even in her womb.' [3 p. q. xxvii. art. 4, concl.] The holy Church sings, 'Thou, O Lord, hast not disdained to dwell in the Virgin's womb.' Yes, for He would have disdained to have taken flesh in the womb of an Agnes, a Gertrude, a Teresa, because these virgins, though holy, were nevertheless for a time stained with Original Sin; but He did not disdain to become man in the womb of Mary, because this beloved Virgin was always pure and free from the least shadow of sin, and was never possessed by the infernal serpent. And therefore Saint Augustine says, 'that the Son of God never made Himself a more worthy dwelling than Mary, who was never possessed by the enemy, or despoiled of her ornaments.'. (Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary)
Our Lady was spotless from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception. She is an archetype, therefore, of our spotless Holy Mother Church. Our Lady was never stained by any sins, by any unruly passions or disorderly inclinations. She personified interiorly and exhibited exteriorly in her words and in her deeds each of the virtues to their penultimate perfections. She gave the Logos, the very Word through Whom all things were made, His earthly dwelling in which He would redeem the human race atop the sinkhole known as Golgotha or Calvary as He hung on the gibbet of the Holy Cross. She made possible, therefore, our very salvation and she made possible the founding of Holy Mother Church and of the countless treasures of grace entrusted to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ by her Divine Son, Who is His Holy Church's Invisible Head and Mystical Bridegroom.
What is true of the spotless Blessed Mother is, therefore, true of Holy Mother Church. Our Lady was never defiled by sin or disorder or scandal or blasphemy or any indifference to abomination or heresy. Holy Mother Church can never be defiled by promoting liturgies that mock the Faith and profane Our Blessed Lord and Saviour's Sacrifice to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on the Holy Cross. Holy Mother Church can never be defiled by "popes" contradicting the perennial teaching of the Church, including that on Original Sin, as they reject what they call disparagingly "the ecumenism of the return." It is without precedent in the history of the Catholic Church for her officials to sanction "Masses" with clowns, balloons, hideous "music," immodesty, and the incorporation of pagan rituals. Indeed, it is as impossible for the Catholic Church to sanction such things as it was for our Blessed Mother to sin.
Pope Pius XI, writing in Mortalium Animos, put it this way:
So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it. During the lapse of centuries, the mystical Spouse of Christ has never been contaminated, nor can she ever in the future be contaminated, as Cyprian bears witness: "The Bride of Christ cannot be made false to her Spouse: she is incorrupt and modest. She knows but one dwelling, she guards the sanctity of the nuptial chamber chastely and modestly." The same holy Martyr with good reason marveled exceedingly that anyone could believe that "this unity in the Church which arises from a divine foundation, and which is knit together by heavenly sacraments, could be rent and torn asunder by the force of contrary wills." For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.
Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, "the Mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful"? Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind."
Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs," not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped-for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928.)
The devil hates the spotless Blessed Virgin Mary who has crushed his head with her heel. He hates the spotless Mystical Bride of Christ, Holy Mother Church, as she, our Mater and Magister, dispenses to us the life-giving treasures of grace so that we, wounded by the effects of Original Sin and by effects of our own many Actual Sins, can crush his influence in our lives as we rely upon Our Lady's maternal intercession, as we consecrate ourselves totally to her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, through her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, as we shield ourselves with her Brown Scapular and use the weapon that is her Most Holy Rosary to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world. The devil wants to attack the spotless Mystical Bride of Christ during this era of apostasy and betrayal just as he attacked the spotless, Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary during the Protestant Revolt, whose evil effects continue to be manifest in the world.
That is, the devil hates Our Lady as she is the Singular Vessel of Devotion in which the One he hates, God, assumed a human nature with the gifts of perfect integrity that was possessed by the first Adam before the Fall without for one second losing His Sacred Divinity. The devil hates Our Lady for her perfect obedience to the will of the Father at the Annunciation. He hates her for giving birth to the New Adam Who would cancel out the debt that had been contracted by Adam when he sinned by disobeying God in the Garden of Eden. The devil hates Our Lady because he knows, as Blessed Louis de Montfort taught, it is necessary to have devotion to her in order to be saved:
The pious and learned Jesuit, Suarez, Justus Lipsius, a devout and erudite theologian of Louvain, and many others have proved incontestably that devotion to our Blessed Lady is necessary to attain salvation. This they show from the teaching of the Fathers, notably St. Augustine, St. Ephrem, deacon of Edessa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Germanus of Constantinople, St. John Damascene, St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure. Even according to Oecolampadius and other heretics, lack of esteem and love for the Virgin Mary is an infallible sign of God's disapproval. On the other hand, to be entirely and genuinely devoted to her is a sure sign of God's approval. (Saint Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary.)
Thus it is that the devil has used Protestantism as a special means of "election," shall we say, to denigrate Our Lady and devotion to her. Make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen: Protestantism is from the devil, who inspired a prideful, lustful Augustinian monk, steeped in guilt over his sins and despairing of the efficacy of the graces made available to him in the Sacrament of Penance to overcome his sins, to deny that Our Lord had established a visible, hierarchical Church upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, that alone was the means by which men are to be instructed in the truths of the Holy Faith and the sole means by which the souls of men are to be sanctified until the end of time. The devil used all of the permutations from have flowed from Father Martin Luther's apostasy to create a veritable cottage industry in the over 33,000 different Protestant sects that have arisen in the past 493 years to disparage the role Our Lady played in the salvation of mankind and to portray her as nothing other than another "sinner" who had all of the faults and weaknesses of any other human being.
Similarly, the devil has used the condemned errors of Gallicanism concerning the nature of papal infallibility and of the Church herself to convince several generations of traditionally-minded Catholics that is indeed possible for a "pope" to make "unofficial" utterances (those not issued solemnly in an ex cathedra definition) and that it is possible for the Catholic Church to promulgate a "liturgy" that can give rise to one scandal after another. This false view of the Church contradicts Pope Pius XI's quotation of Saint Cyprian, that Holy Mother Church will be exactly the same in all ages as she has been in the past, that she, like Our Blessed Mother herself, can never be contaminated.
We, who have been so contaminated by our own sins, need to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world by pledging ourselves unreservedly to the very patroness of the United States of America, the Immaculate Conception herself, Our Lady, who appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in the Grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes, France, on March 25, 1858, to say, "I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION," thereby ratifying Pope Pius IX's solemn definition of this doctrine that she, the very Mother of God, proclaimed as such by the Council of Ephesus in the year 431 A.D., was preserved from all stain of that sin which each of us has on our souls before we are baptized, Original Sin. We need to cling to true bishops and true priests who make no concessions to conciliarism at all and who accord no legitimacy to the false shepherds who have done so much to offend God and to blaspheme even His Most Blessed Mother by their words and deeds, including tampering with her Most Holy Rosary itself.
The conversion of men and their nations to the true Faith has been entrusted to Mary our Immaculate Queen, who hates the false ecumenism of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. We must pray and make many sacrifices to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the conversion of our own beloved country, the United States of America, so that she will be truly worthy of God's blessings and so that a liberty founded only on the standard of the Holy Cross will flower in the hearts and souls of men who judge the things of time solely by the things of eternity and as they rely upon the ever-powerful intercession of the Mother of God herself. This is not a message that one will hear in too many conciliar churches in the United States of America. It is a message that we, keeping fast to the teaching of the ever spotless Mystical Bride of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, must proclaim by word and by deed as we make our acts of reparation for the sins of Modernity and Modernism.
Here is one recommendation for such an act of reparation, a "Salutation to Mary," written by Saint John Eudes in the Seventeenth Century. A copy of this salutation (which a booklet tells us to "undertake to widely spread and make known this Salutation to the Glory of Mary") was found in a book belonging to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque after her death. As Pere Paul de Moll, O.S.B., wrote:
This salutation is so beautiful! Recite it daily. From her throne in Heaven the Blessed Virgin will bless you, and you must make the Sign of the Cross. You! Yes! If only you could see--Our Lady blesses you. I know it!
Offered for the conversion of a sinner it would be impossible not to be granted.
Here is the Salutation to Mary:
Hail Mary! Daughter of God the Father.
Hail Mary! Mother of God the Son.
Hail Mary! Spouse of God the Holy Ghost.
Hail Mary! Temple of the Most Blessed Trinity.
Hail Mary! Pure Lilly of the Effulgent Trinity. God.
Hail Mary!! Celestial Rose of the ineffable Love of God.
Hail Mary! Virgin pure and humble, of whom the King of Heaven willed to be born and with thy milk to be nourished.
Hail Mary! Virgin of Virgins.
Hail Mary! Queen of Martyrs, whose soul a sword transfixed.
Hail Mary! Lady most blessed: Unto whom all power in Heaven and earth is given.
Hail Mary! My Queen and my Mother! My Life, my sweetness and my Hope.
Hail Mary! Mother most Amiable.
Hail Mary! Mother most Admirable.
Hail Mary! Mother of Divine Love.
Hail Mary! IMMACULATE! Conceived without sin!
Hail Mary Full of Grace. The Lord is with Thee! Blessed art Thou amongst Women and Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus!
Blessed be thy Spouse, St. Joseph.
Blessed be thy Father, St. Joachim.
Blessed be thy Mother, St. Anne.
Blessed be thy Guardian, St. John.
Blessed be thy Holy Angel, St. Gabriel.
Glory be to God the Father, who chose thee.
Glory be to God the Son, who loved thee.
Glory be to God the Holy Ghost, who espoused thee.
O Glorious Virgin Mary, may all men love and praise thee.
Holy Mary, Mother of God! Pray for us and bless us, now, and at death in the Name of Jesus, thy Divine Son!
We give thanks to God this day for giving us His Singular Vessel of Devotion, the Mystical Rose, our dear Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without stain of Original or Actual Sin in the womb of her saintly mother, Good Saint Anne. We make acts of reparation for the offenses shown to so great a Mother, without whom we not not have been redeemed and without a tender devotion to whom no man can be saved.
We pledge ourselves during this Advent season to prepare for the commemoration of her Divine Son's Nativity in Bethlehem by giving ourselves to Him through her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, making of our own lives a gift of total service and oblation that she made of her own life on earth and from her regal throne in Heaven itself. There is no greater Christmas gift that we can give than that of ourselves as to the Blessed Trinity as the consecrated slaves of His Daughter's, Mother's and Spouse's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. And we we look forward to the day when that same Heart, preserved from all sin and filled with all grace from the first moment of conception, will triumph in the midst of the world, as the evils of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the counterfeit church of conciliarism are vanquished from the face of this earth forever.
May we pray this prayer composed by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori at the end of the Discourse on the Immaculate Conception found in The Glories of Mary:
Ah, my Immaculate Lady! I rejoice with thee on seeing thee enriched with so great purity. I thank, and resolve always to thank, our common Creator for having preserved thee from every stain of sin; and I firmly believe this doctrine, and am prepared and swear even to lay down my life, should this be necessary, in defense of this thy so great and singular privilege of being conceived immaculate. I would that the whole world knew thee and acknowledged thee as being that beautiful 'Dawn' which was always illumined with Divine light; as that chosen 'Ark' of salvation, free from the common shipwreck of sin; that perfect and immaculate 'Dove' which thy Divine Spouse declared thee to be: that 'enclosed Garden' which was the delight of God; that 'sealed Fountain' whose waters were never troubled by an enemy; and finally, as that 'white Lily,' which thou art, and who though born in the midst of the thorns of the children of Adam, all of whom are conceived in sin, and the enemies of God, wast alone conceived pure and spotless, and in all things the beloved of thy Creator.
Permit me, then, to praise thee also as thy God Himself has praised thee: "Thou art all fair, and there is not a spot in thee." O most pure Dove, all fair, all beautiful, always the friend of God. "O how beautiful art thou, my beloved! how beautiful art thou!" Ah, most sweet, most amiable, immaculate Mary, thou who art so beautiful in the eyes of thy Lord,-----ah, disdain not to cast thy compassionate eyes on the wounds of my soul, loathsome as they are. Behold me, pity me, heal me. O beautiful lodestone of hearts, draw also my miserable heart to thyself. O thou, who from the first moment of thy life didst appear pure and beautiful before God, pity me, who not only was born in sin, but have again since Baptism stained my soul with crimes. What grace will God ever refuse thee, who chose thee for His daughter, His Mother, and Spouse, and therefore preserved thee from every stain, and in His love preferred thee to all other creatures? I will say, in the words of Saint Philip Neri, 'Immaculate Virgin, thou hast to save me.' Grant that I may always remember thee; and thou, do thou never forget me. The happy day, when I shall go to behold thy beauty in Paradise, seems a thousand years off; so much do I long to praise and love thee more than I can now do, my Mother, my Queen, my beloved, most beautiful, most sweet, most pure, Immaculate Mary. Amen. (Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary.)
A blessed Feast Day of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception to you all!
Vivat Christus Rex! Vivat Maria Regina Immaculata!
Our Lady of Good Success, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Ambrose, pray for us.
Saint Augustine of Hippo, pray for us.
Saint Dominic de Guzman, pray for us.
Saint Louis de Montfort, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.